The first hearing of the trial, fiver years after the murder, was held in Diyarbakır under heavy security measures. The court rejected all demands from the Elçi family lawyers, and decided on hearing the defendant police officers through the Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS).
Tahir Elçi, a prominent Kurdish human rights lawyer, was shot and killed during a press conference in front of the historical Four-Legged Minaret in Suriçi, Diyarbakır, on 28 November 2015; five years before the first hearing of the trial at the Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court.
Tahir Elçi’s wife, Türkan Elçi, wanted to speak at the hearing and said “I had trust in justice when I came here”, but her requests were not heard by the court. Türkan Elçi, who was not allowed to speak at the hearing, spoke outside the court and said: “This property belongs to all of us, justice is for all”. Her words referred to a well-known phrase written on the walls of many courts in Turkey: “Justice is the basis of property”.
Despite the intensive security measures taken around the Diyarbakir Court, Bar Associations of İstanbul, İzmir, and Ankara were present in Diyarbakır to monitor the case and to be involved.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many people were not allowed into the courtroom. Bar Associations who objected to this practice met with the court committee to discuss the issue, but the delegation rejected all objections. Many journalists and individuals with their names on the list were not allowed to follow the hearing.
The defendant police officers, S.T., F.T., and M.S., and their lawyers attended the hearing through the Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS).
The lawyers of the Elçi Family argued that hearing defendants through SEGBİS is against the rulings of the Constitutional Court (AYM) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and therefore requested the decision to be rejected.
One of the lawyers of the Elçi family, Mehmet Emin Aktar, said in his objection: “We are requesting a rejection on the grounds that the court committee does not act independently and impartially”.